by Jamie Moon
Since the 12th of February 1968 when I first was introduced to the Principles of the addiction treatment Program, I was under the childish belief that to forgive someone meant letting them off the hook. Today I believe that Forgiveness actually lets the one forgiving—off the hook. The longer I truly look at this Principle of the 12 steps, I wonder if there is really only one person I need to forgive—me. I am my harshest judge. For example, I have just had what I thought would be a rather simple orthopedic surgery on my left foot. Well on my big toe on my left foot. Now I knew they were going to use a saw to cut out a triangle of excess bone growth and screws to straighten and fix the toe in a more normal position.
I also had enough sense to ask not to be conscious during this procedure. So good so far—right? Well that was nearly two weeks ago and I am still lying on my back, keeping my foot above my heart level to manage swelling. In fact this is my first attempt to sit for any length of time to write this article. And I was not able to complete it that day. Now what does this have to do with Forgiveness? I feel stupid for thinking that this would be a “simple” procedure and that I could just get up and start my daily routines right away. Self forgiveness has been much more difficult than the forgiveness of others. I have always expected more from myself than I now do of others.
Fortunately I have learned to forgive other folks for their mistakes and errors in life. Although I must admit it was not until Sept. 11th 2001 that I truly understood what Forgiveness really is. For me, it is impossible to forgive anyone that I feel either, superior to, or inferior to. Once I realize that there is nothing that anyone has ever done that I could not have done under similar or some kind of circumstance. There is a line that I sing in the morning that says, “I love the world the way it is ‘cause I can clearly see, that all the things I have judged were done by people just like me.” This is a reminder that I am no better or no worse than anyone else on this plain of existence. My understanding of self-forgiveness is coming round as time goes on. I am now practicing NOT demanding more from me though I do intend to try to be better than I was yesterday.